Tag Archives: life lessons

I am not any good at surfing…

But I still had fun! Which is difficult for me when I am not any good at something. I like being good at things. I know my friends and family will have a really hard time believing that (hah.hah.), but it’s true! My self competitiveness is one of my biggest strengths as well as one of my biggest faults. It drives me to work hard and get better but it also drives me down internally. Being good at things is my own form of self validation. I always wanted to be a fast swimmer, a great friend, a strong athlete, a successful student, an incredible nurse, a stylish chick, an entertaining host, etc. It doesn’t matter how significant or insignificant, I want to be good at everything. But alas, I am not and I often struggle to feel confident among my shortcomings. It is in fact, normal, to not be good at everything. Now when I really think about it I realize I would like myself less if I was good at everything. That would be no fun at all and I probably wouldn’t be that enjoyable of a person to be around. Who likes perfect people? No one. It’s just been a silly measure of self-confidence for me that it is in fact a big waste of time! So, surfing in Sri Lanka has been a lesson for me in this: feeling successful among my shortcomings.

Every time I stand up on my surfboard, I fall down. Whether it’s a half second later or just before I reach the beach, I eventually fall down. I catch waves every now and again, but they are not graceful nor particularly pretty to watch. In my own way, I am successful. I am not the dutch girls who are ripping waves with the boys all day long. Looking so much cooler than I could ever be and definitely the most badass chicks on the beach. I am not the Sri Lankan beach bums who can stand up on their surfboards with their eyes closed. I am not the quick learning “are you sure you haven’t done this before?” beginner I was hoping to be. Although on my first day I did fool people into thinking I had. Beginners luck. It’s been downhill every day since. But it is okay. I am surfing in Sri Lanka. I am teaching myself how to do something I’ve never done before. I am smiling. I am making new friends. I am learning to enjoy something I am not good at. I am admiring the surfers around me. I have found a new sport that is fun and I can do all over the world. People are laughing at me but I am laughing at me too. I think I have been successful at surfing.

This is a measure of success on which I am judging myself for the first time, and I hope I can use it in future failures. Just like on my surfboard, I will always fall down. Whether it’s a big fall or just losing my balance a little bit, it’s still gonna happen. I am not perfect at anything, nor do I have to be. When I fall in the future, I will make a conscious effort to find the success in the shortcoming. Because it’s there somewhere, and we all deserve not to be so harsh on ourselves. I will also avoid holding others to my previously abused standard of success. If I’m not perfect, why do they have to be? They’re probably better than me at surfing, anyway. I will appreciate the successes of others as a measure of their attitude and effort. Not on whether or not they fall off their surfboard. Even the best surfers fall off, they wouldn’t be trying very hard if they didn’t.

This week of falling off my surfboard in Sri Lanka has been perfect. I have had only good days in this country, not of course, without a few bad moments. But Sri Lanka has been a success! I feel better about myself everyday and for reasons I never would have imagined. Traveling teaches you things you can’t learn in your own environment. I am so lucky to be having all these experiences, even the bad ones. (Like yesterday when my surfboard leash broke TWICE, and i was told to pay 6,000 rupees for a faulty product. An exercise in deep breathing.) I have just a few days left in this beautiful country and I am soaking it all in. Nothing went according to plan in Sri Lanka (like- I was supposed to embrace solitude, why am I having dinner with friends every night? I meant to go to Kandy and explore Sri Lankan culture, but my toes are still firmly in the sand. I was gonna go to surf camp, until I decided to become my own teacher) but it has been fantastic nonetheless. More to come on my Sri Lankan life in tomorrow’s post. Then… it’s on to Thailand!

I hope you all have time to laugh at your shortcomings today and think about finding somewhere to plan your next adventure. I’m going to go get back on my surfboard! See you later!


Why Nepalis are better than me, a top ten list

As promised, I will follow up my last post with an opposing look at my recent life lessons. For all that Nepal has made me appreciate about my own home, there are an equal number of things that they do significantly better. Hopeful that I can continue to bring these practices into my own life. Also hopeful that you’ve got nothing to do today, because this is a really really long post. I have always had a tendency to be long winded and I just really went for it on this post. Sorry.  So you should definitely take a seat, and maybe be entertained by my thoughts for a few!

1. Simplicity
Life is simple here, it really really is. In having so little, the Nepalis manage to have so much. I have wracked my brain trying to come up with a gift more my host father this week. When we arrived we were told by the program coordinators it would be a nice gesture to buy them something they might need at the end of your stay. Well, I have decided my Baba is the man who has everything. Yet, he has never touched a computer let alone owned one. Nor does he have a sports jersey supporting his favorite team, or a refrigerator to keep his beer cold, or a working television. Or even a mirror! His clothes are old and tattered. His flip flops are worn and breaking. I wanted to buy him a “topee” (nepalese hat) but when I realized he had 2 I knew he would laugh and probably tell me he would never wear it. As far as he knows, his clothes are perfect. In fact, I saw him sorting them the other day with ones he wanted to get rid of (I think he was frusturated he had too many). There is something to be said about people who own less clothes than I brought in my backpack and have no desire for more. I can’t help but think of my overly cluttered bedroom, with clothes i never wear and knick-knacks I don’t need. Such a life of excess. I showed some of the girls at my work a recent “People” magazine today. Jessica Simpson and a near nude Miley Cyrus graced the cover, none of the girls having any idea who either was. I am envious of this ignorance. People in the village walk around barefoot, in their tattered clothes, smiling, sharing cups of tea, living so simply and yet so happily. I can’t help but think, if we all simplified our lives a little bit, we might be better off.

2. Food
Compared to what I eat here, I feel embarrassed about the foods I ate at home. So much take out, frozen entrees, greasy fried anything, and overly processed crap that probably came from China. In Nepal, my meals consist of rice and vegetables. I realize I have complained about this, yes. But it is the root of the food itself that I am appreciating here. My meals are pulled from the garden minutes before they are cooked for me to eat. Every single one them. It blows my mind! Like I said previously, we don’t have a fridge so there is no storing food or freezing a prepackaged pizza. We also eat what is cooked (which can be quite a challenge for me sometimes!). Auma tries to prepare only enough for what we will need at that particular meal, if there is too much we stay until it is eaten. Leftovers are not a thing. She has a small rack of spices, sugar, and salt. The rice is harvested from nearby fields and the vegetables are growing in the front yard. Although I’ll admit I crave certain foods from home (burgers, a cheesy egg omelet, a sandwich), I cant honestly say I have not opened a packaged food since I’ve been in Nepal. And really I don’t think I’ve missed it too much. No packages of crackers, bag of chips, or box of cookies. Those things are just not eaten here in the village. In the future, I will try to be more conscious of what I eat and where it came from.

3. Sense of community
Nepalis love their neighbors! I wish I had the connection with my neighbors that they do. I don’t think I even knew my next door neighbors name (but I did know he was divorced and had weekend visitation rights!). I am ashamed about that. I know his gossip and not his name. I imagine the lady on the other side of me is old, because I see oxygen get dropped of and home health nurses stop in. It would be kind if I stopped by to offer some help now and again. Granted, I grew up surrounded by fantastic neighbors that I have remained close with, but neighbors are something I will appreciate more. In Nepal, if you are sick in the hospital your neighbors come to bring you food and take care of you. I can’t imagine what visiting hours looks like from what has been described to me. Your neighbors are almost more important than your extended family. Actually, they almost are a family. If you can’t pay your hospital bill at check out, your neighbors pitch in until it is filled. Imagine? If there is a project going on at the neighbors house, you forget your daily tasks and work until their job is complete. When you die, your neighbors arrange you a proper funeral and help with cost. I imagine that neighbors are synonymous with “best friends” as the people that live around you are probably going to be who you spend the most time with when you don’t have a car or phone or enough money for a plane ride. My best friends live all over the country and I don’t seem them regularly. When I get my next house, I will make an effort to know my neighbors.

4. Cost
Everything is cheap in Nepal! It all feels so reasonable. And if you don’t think so, feel free to say so and the shopkeeper will do his best to match your requested price. Last week, I went paragliding for $50. At Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming, it will cost you a steep $350. That doesn’t even make sense. So much money all the time for everything in America. Hey Patagonia- I don’t want to pay $150 for that jacket, so how about I buy two jackets and we’ll make it a deal for $200. Haggling can be a headache, but it’s well worth a couple minutes of pain for a good price. There is so much overcharging and hidden fees and inflation crap in America it is ridiculous. Nothing costs what it actually costs anymore. The health clinic here in the village is free. Free checkups, free pharmacy, free pediatrician, free dentist, free everything. People can actually pay for college here too. You don’t have to sign your first child away and maybe even your soul to get a degree. Just saying. Life is cheap, and good.

5. Appreciation of culture

Nepal has such a beautiful, rich culture based from the Hindu religion. There are many daily rituals and cherished festivals. Nepali people love their culture and completely embrace all of it’s history. When was the last time you REALLY celebrated Presidents’ Day? Or labor day? Huh? I mean, don’t ask me how to celebrate.. but we have the day off of school for pete’s sake so I suppose we should do something. Just kidding, that’s a bit of an extreme example. But I’m just saying I/we could get to know our own culture a little bit better. The United States has a unique and diverse culture, that changes somewhat drastically from region to region. Anyways, I think I should try to appreciate my own culture a little bit more. As eclectic as our culture may be, it’s still pretty cool and I want to learn more about it. Nepali people have so many fantastic traditions and I want some of my own dang traditions. I will learn to love American history and celebrate my culture. Yay Thanksgiving!!

6. Actions speak louder than words
I grew being told this, but don’t feel like I really understood it until now. In a place where I can’t understand the words, the actions are all I have. Nepalis smile all the time. It makes me smile and feel happy. I can’t even talk to these people but they make me feel happy! I need to smile at people more when I go home. I am so wrapped up in my own head all the time that I don’t acknowledge anyone around me. Now, I know how it feels to be acknowledged and I will try to spread that happiness around a little bit better. Laughing also, it is amazing how much fun you can have with someone just by laughing. Baba speaks only a few words of english, but he laughs ALL the time. It is better than english. He laughs at me, he laughs at himself, and he laughs at absolutely nothing. I can’t help but start laughing and then neither of us can stop. I am having so much fun and I don’t even know why.  My family and boyfriend have scolded me on separate occasions for laughing “too much” in a movie theater. I used to feel embarrassed but now I have no shame. Sorry guys. Laughing is great, everyone should do it more often! As I’ve said before, I have recently experienced the magic of a cup of tea and I am hooked. I’ve never ever been a tea drinker and probably wouldn’t believe you if you said I someday would be. But on my hardest moments in Nepal, Auma handed over a cup of tea and suddenly I could breathe again. I’ve never felt so comforted by such a simple action. Maybe I’m the last to the party on this one, but I’m telling you people- TEA! And here’s the key, with lots of sugar!! It will stop your tears or someone else’s and warm your soul from the inside out. Some of my favorite moments this month have been sitting on the porch with Auma, sharing the silence with only smiles and sweet tea.

7. Environment
What a beautiful place I am in. But what an equally beautiful place I live in at home! Utah is one of the most breathtaking states in the US. Even in New England we have SO much beauty all around us! I am guilty of neglecting my surroundings. In the village, people live off the land and love it. The city (just a 45 minute trip away) provides so much more economically and beyond (running water, the potential for a refrigerator, a stove, etc). Yet, these people don’t have any interest. Auma and Baba hate the city. They do all they can to avoid it. It’s dirty, loud, busy, and ugly. They love the village- the serenity, the beauty, and the pace. I have so much of this all around me at home, there is no reason I should spending my saturday sitting on the couch. I do try to get out and enjoy it, but it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate it a little more. I have had much time to explore these past few weeks and my day almost feels incomplete without a hike after work. Often, I have no destination in mind (“m’am, where are you going??” “Just..walking” … thoroughly confusing to nepali villagers) but it makes no matter. Sharing the fresh air with the trees, sky, hills, and birds is so beautifully soul cleansing.  I can actually hear myself think, or sometimes I don’t even think at all, and it is so calming. I will seek out the beautiful places in my backyard more often, where I am, even if it’s just to wander. What do they say, “life is a journey.. not a destination” right? And its true, even in the smallest sense. Just journey out your front door today, to the nearest green space- breathe in, deep, and enjoy!

8. Hard work

The home I live in was made and is kept with the blood, sweat, and tears of its owners. Okay, maybe just the sweat, but it sounded good? There is no paying someone to fix your roof. clean your floors, tend to your gardens, or build your… anything. Baba is 60 years old and still wakes with the sun every.single.day. Every single day, he goes out to the fields to cut the grass to feed his animals or harvest the rice to feed his family. He returns mid afternoon with bushels twice the size of his body bursting behind his back. I have never seen such a little man carry such a big load. He makes another trip. And then it’s time to milk the buffaloes and make a trek to who knows where to sell his produce. He eats and then he sleeps, often fully clothed with the lights still on. This is a hard working man. I don’t imagine he will stop until he physically can’t do it. It is the same story across every village household. In the meantime, Auma has tended to all the animals, pulling out the dirty hay (soiled with many forms of excrement from nine non-potty-trained animals) and replacing it with fresh grass. She has cooked them breakfast (they eat dal baht too!) and lugged several gallons of fresh water up the hill for them to drink. You wouldn’t believe how much food is required by a buffalo. Then she tends the garden, fixes up the house, and also goes to the field. The bushels she carries are three times her size. Wow! My life is not hard. Sometimes, I whine that it is. These people are not afforded a sick day. They do not get to go their lake house for the weekend or take a road trip to the beach. They can’t complain to management that their load is too tough and the expectations unfair. If they don’t work, they don’t eat. My life is not hard. I will try to remember this, next time I am sitting in the staff room eating cookies and complaining about how crap my day is. I will remember a sweaty, tired, aging baba; still smiling though holding his aching back bones, on his way out to the fields on a Sunday. I will get up from my plush chair and work a little bit hard, relishing in the fact that tomorrow is a day off.
9. Ingenuity
Okay, whew, this writing thing is hard. So I may have to give these last two a little less love than number 1-8 or may fingers might fall off and my head pop. But as you know from my multitude of remarks about the struggles of village life, there are many many modern marvels that are lacking in this neck of the woods. The result, is a keen sense of ingenuity that would impress the likes of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. If they were alive, that is. Everything is used, re-used, recycled, and refurbished around here. I wish I had been born with a creative bone in my bottom and maybe my remote-nepal-village survival skills would be a little sharper. Maybe in the next life. For now, I will look on in awe at medical tape tubes that become water pipes and short lengths of rope turned backpacks capable of carrying a fifty pound load. And next time something breaks at home, I will try to think a little bit harder about fixing it myself or finding it a new purpose before I run to the store or toss it in the trash.
10. Self Reliance
Okay, now I’m seeing stars. I will finish this post, I will finish this post. So I’m sure you can imagine where the art of self reliance comes in handy in my remote nepali village life. From a young age up here in the hills, the villagers figure out they’ve got themselves and themselves to count on when the going gets tough. Hell, I’ve figured it out and I’ve been here a month. People are brave up here and they’ve got it figured out that they count on themselves. My four year old neighbor walks two miles home from school by himself. The last half mile down a steep stone path (refer to post #2 for further insight on this path) and through the frequently leech infested rice paddies that I once cried about (also- post #2). He is usually singing or laughing when he gets home. I’m officially embarrassed about that. Auma swats scurrying mice off her face in the middle of night. She’s not scared or panicked, just irritated. Baba spends the day in the sweltering heat of the sun by himself. If something goes wrong, I suppose he could yell.. loudly. There’s no hospitals, police officers, or shops of any kind around when you’ve got an issue. Few people have cars. My point is, if you’ve got yourself a problem it’s on you to figure out how to fix it. These people live in conditions far more difficult than any of ours, and they just have to make it work. Some times things are really hard, and they work it out and survive. So can I and so can we all. Sometimes its good to remind yourself how strong you really are and that when it comes down to it you have to be the person you trust most in the world. I was scared, challenged, upset, and worried during the past month. I had no friends and not even a fellow english speaker around. But I made it through, with a smile on my face. It was a good lesson in my own strength. Sometimes, you can find a lot of comfort in discomfort.
Queue the band and fireworks. I made it through, and if you are reading this, so did you! You are a good person for sitting through my stream of consciousness and reading my sometimes incongruent thoughts. Sometimes it doesn’t even all make sense to me, so if I’ve managed to get any points across I’ll consider it a success. Even when living my home life, my mind is up and down and left and right. You can’t imagine what traveling Asia on my own has done to it! But, it has been both fun and therapeutic becoming a “blogger”. So I will continue trying to narrate my experiences, maybe letting you see a little bit of life through my greenish brown eyes. Thanks for reading!

Learning to appreciate what I have, the Nepali version

I have been in Nepal for 3 weeks now, not very long by any standard. Some days it feels like I got here yesterday and other times I could swear I’ve been here for a year. One way in which it feels like eternity is in the lessons I have learned about the way I live my life. Things I will no longer take for granted, after experiences in Nepal-

1. My home
Any home, I have had or will have. In the United States I know that no matter the size or location of my home, it will be a good home. The floors will not be made of dirt. The bathroom will not be a  hole in the ground, located out the door, down the steps, and around the corner. My walls will not be made of mud, with scarves and blankets serving as sufficient patchwork for the areas that have given away. My roof will be insulated, and not a thin sheet of metal who’s strength is not always a match against regular weather forces. Spiders, rats, mice, muskrats, flies, and lizards will not be able to come and go as they please, treating my house as their own. My walls and my roof will be built in a way that keeps the outside, outside. In the United States, we worry so much about the size of our home, the style of couches, the chicness of the decorations, and they currentness of our technology. I have come to find that a good home does not require many, or any, of these things.

2. Language
Oh my! The day I can walk down the street or into a shop or anywhere, and understand what the heck the people around me are saying, will be joyous. I take for granted that I speak the most universally spoken language in the world, and man do I realize how fantastic that is now. I sit at my health post and can only discern what is wrong with any of the patients based on actions. Is it a cold or is constipation? Sure would be nice if I could understand them. On the street, villagers stop to make conversation and no matter how hard I try to listen I almost always end up nodding my head in hopeful agreement or expressing my regretful lack of understanding. How nice it would be to chat with a passerby! At my home, Auma and Baba have heartfelt and humorous conversations over dinner, what I wouldn’t give to participate! From experience, I know these are two kind and caring people but I know if I could understand their words I would appreciate their personalities so much more! And everywhere, people talk about me. I’m sure they say nice words and they say not so nice words. But I don’t know who says what. Friends come to visit the house, I hear “america” and I know they are talking about me but that is all I know. Patients at the health post ask the workers about “volunteer”. People in shops and on the road stare or point and speak about anyone foreign. I will be a better listener when I come home and I will be more patient with those who don’t speak my language.

3. Toilet Paper
Such a simple, but necessary luxury! It does not exist in this country. It is BYOT nationwide, and bring your way to dispose of it while you’re at it. Nepalis use water to clean themselves. It’s not like I can ask for a demonstration so I don’t really know how it works. But my appreciation for toilet paper as never been so great until now. Many Nepalis literally don’t know even what toilet paper is. To think, I will someday be back in a place where toilet paper not only exists, but is available everywhere. What a commodity!  

4. Electricity
The entire country looses electricity multiple times a day without warning. It just happens and its just part of life. Sometimes, while you are cooking- the kitchen becomes dark. Other times, when you are reading a book before bed it becomes no longer an option. My cell phone is dead and I have no electricity to charge it, the inconvenience! I have learned to have my head lamp within reach as soon as the sun goes down. A necessary part of life in Nepal. At home, I will stop cursing the electric company next time I lose power or internet or television for whatever reason.

5. Water
Nepal is a country where the water you drink can potentially do you more harm than good. As a foreigner, I have no choice but to avoid the tap water. But even Nepalis have become accustomed to boiling their water, the consequences of not boiling have become to unpleasant. I walk 30 minutes uphill every time I want some water. If I didn’t buy enough and run out in the evening, I have to wait until tomorrow afternoon after my day at the health post to get more. I literally have to ration my water on a daily basis. There is no faucet in my kitchen or water bubbler at my work. In the future, I will be less wasteful of the seemingly endless supply I have available to me.

6. Cleanliness
I have had to accept a new type of clean for my hygiene standards. I shower in a public faucet, while wearing a dress- you can only get so clean. I wash my clothes in the same faucet, inside a bucket caked with dirt. The same stains I started the wash with, are there when I finish. Once the clothes are “clean”, I lay them to dry on a dirty, rusty roof that is laden with gifts from various animals. Sometimes my clean clothes have more spots than my dirty clothes did. My dishes are rinsed in rain water with chore stained hands. My bedroom floor is made of dirt, so that’s that. My hands and my feet are brown, always. I scrub and I scrub to get them clean, then I walk by the buffalo stalls on my way back from the faucet and they are dirty again. I eat my dinner on the same floor that I frequently walk and sit on. This too, is made of dirt and is where my food is prepared by hands that have done things today that I can only guess. I have pulled bugs from my rice, and on one occasion a pebble from my teeth. A hot shower (with a curtain), a washing machine and a dishwasher (even a sink), have never sounded so good.

7. Variety
Dal Baht, dal baht, dal baht. All day every day. This is what we eat in Nepal. Fortunately it is tasty, but still, all day every day. Breakfast and dinner monday-sunday, we eat the same thing. So Stephen, stop complaining that mom always cooks you “the same thing” because, literally, she doesn’t. I think my taste senses are slowly shrinking and dying, they only know dal baht now and aren’t really necessary. To imagine having anything I want for dinner- a juicy burger, a spicy burrito, an indian curry, a vegetable rich pasta, sounds too good to be true! 

8. Paved Roads
I wish I could really explain the roads here, but I can’t. Some have been paved in the past, some have never been. Most have potholes the size of a small child, many have obstacles of broken boulders and various other hazards. They are small roads and the cars are fast. It is terrifying. There are frequent mudslides and many mountain roads. A quick stop or tight turn could send you off a cliff. To get from Kathmandu to Pokhara (the 2 largest cities in the country) can take anywhere from 5-8 hours by bus. It just depends on the roads that day and if you or someone else gets stuck in an inconvenient location. To describe a 9 hour (thats how long it actually took us) bus trip on Nepali roads as nauseating and bone bruising would be an understatement. You better take a dramamine and hold on tight. This really is the only way to get between the 2 largest cities! I will try to complain less about traffic in the states, as long as a can have a smooth, flat road with several lanes and a guardrail.

9. Social Appropriateness
In the United States we are raised with an awareness of what is appropriate in a public setting and what is not. We are raised with the understanding that it is rude to speak to people in a certain way while other behaviors are considered polite or socially acceptable. In Nepal this type of construct does not exist. I am told I am fat, I am asked why I have so many “pimples” (aka moles) as if it is some type of disease, I am talked about loudly (in Nepali of course) when I am sitting right there. Strangers have asked me how much money I make, how much did I pay to come to Nepal, how many boyfriends have I had and why did I break up with them, do I share a bed with my boyfriend, there is no line for a Nepali to cross when asking about your personal life.  My foreign friends have had similar experiences, one guy was asked to move to another chair because he was “too fat” for the one he was sitting in. He promptly sat right back down. My blonde friend gets met with weird looks and “why is your hair white?” assuming she is much to young for that. As much as talking behind someones back is considered unkind in the US, I have decided I would much prefer it than be continuously dissected while present. And to have people consider me fat, and keep it to themselves, would be so kind! 

10. The list just feels totally incomplete without a #10! But I can’t seem think up a real good one. So, I will conclude with a couple minor grievances. Addresses- they do not exist here. Dead serious. It makes things very difficult to find! Apparently no one has ever wrote a letter in this country, ever. On friday we walked and walked and walked until we found the paragliding company that we were looking for. The only hint we had was “lakeside 6”, which it turns out has a several mile radius. Other friends have been on the hunt for a lonely planet recommended yoga center. Its been over a week and they are not any closer to knowing where it is. At home, I’m in a panic if my GPS isn’t in the car with me at all times. Such a technology would prove completely useless in Nepal. Next, Heckling. Please let me walk down the street in peace! Shop owners, handicraft peddlers, tour guides, waiters, taxi drivers, sweets-seeking children, and those without a discernible cause- when I said no the first time, it did not mean I would change my mind when you asked me for the 20th time. I get it, they are trying to make a living. But it still gets tiresome, if I was interested in what you had in your shop I would come in! Promise! Also, I don’t know who spread the rumor that foreigners carry chocolate at all times but apparently that’s what all Nepali children have been lead to believe. “Miss, chocolate?” “Excuse me, sweet please?” I don’t think I have ever even bought a chocolate bar in my life, let alone carry one around in my back pocket at all times. Doesn’t matter if the kid is homeless and hungry or from the wealthiest family in the city- they still want your chocolate. 

Well, I will stop there and promise that my next post will be my thoughts on things that Nepalis do way better than us westerners. Because there are plenty of those too. I have learned a lot about what I will appreciate more from my own culture and what lessons I will take back with me from this culture. The country of Nepal is a unique place that has already taught me so much in 3 weeks. 
Quickly- went paragliding on friday and spent the weekend in pokhara, a great weekend out. Had a $25 2.5 hour body scrub/massage/facial yesterday… it was as amazing as it sounds. So. good. I even got a pair of souvenir one size fits all undies! Score! One more week of village life. Will be sad to leave my family, but pretty ready to be done with my “volunteering”. Apparently I signed up for a community health nursing clinical, I literally get excited when I get to give someone a shot. Next week I leaving for the “Annapurna Base Camp” trek with a few friends. Should take us just over a week, then spending a couple more days with my host family to celebrate Dasain. Nepalis get a month off work for this festival, apparently it entails numerous goat and buffalo sacrifices- more on that later! Then a quick stop in Kathmandu before I’m off to Sri Lanka on the 17th of October!
Wow, a long winded post.. sorry. Hope you all had a happy weekend! xo